Wow, there is a lot to share! Sorry that I’ve gotten behind. I think you’ll see why in this newsletter, which will basically be two months in one. In fact, the next newsletter will be early November.
Let’s start with the Skatepark. What a door of opportunity this place has been! For starters, you might remember from the July Newsletter “Summer and Stories” how a young man told me he was “back into God.” Well, I’ve bumped into him several more times at the skatepark and he’s told me he still has the Bible I gave to him and that he’s even let his mum read it! He asked me if I wanted it back, but I said it was his to keep. I’ve invited him to church again and I’m looking forward to the day he comes. Speaking of which, there’s another amazing story involving the skatepark. Again, I met an old acquaintance there. And I got to asking him about scooters. Before too long he asked me if I would be willing to be the licensed adult driver in the car with him so he could practice driving his first car. I thought that was a great opportunity and have been going with him for driving sessions once a week. But that’s not all. I got to asking him about coming to church with me and to my great excitement he came! He even asked about coming again! Please pray he does. With all this activity centering around the skatepark we felt that we could and should do something to be a blessing to the skatepark.
So as a church we organised a Saturday litter pick. We collected over 30kg of rubbish! I’ve also decided since I’m going to be around the skatepark so much that I will start some light skating (with a full kit of body armor on!).
This has had a profound effect on the young people at the skatepark. They flock to me as if I’m some kind of Tony Hawk! I find it absolutely hilarious because I’m the least impressive (probably most accident prone) person on the skatepark. But they don’t seem to care. It’s as if an adult is showing them attention, and they are eating it up. In fact, just last month a boy was telling me about his bearings in his scooter needing to be changed. Having changed a pair of bearings before, I chimed in and said I’d change them for him. It turned out he had a brother that needed his bearings changed too! I spent the next two hours changing bearings but it was worth it! It was great to get to be a blessing to those boys and their mum.
And the exciting thing is that moments like those are seeds. You see, we’re working on establishing an official regular weekly project at the skatepark, using a van and finding ways to be a blessing and then having an informal bible talk they can come to if they want. I’d like to think in time many will at least give it a try. We’re thinking of calling this ministry “skate church” another project of Colwyn Youth for Christ.
Speaking of projects, Shuffle and Shake, our Friday night board game youth group, has started back up with the start of the new school term.
We’ve had a lot of demand as many youth groups are finding it hard to cope with all the Covid related regulations and changes to daily life. In fact, we’ve had to go to “A and B” weeks to try to keep our weekly group size small enough to stay within current Covid group meeting guidelines. At the moment we have potentially 35 young people wanting to come on a given night, but we’re restricted to a group size of around 15. So, we’ve split our register into two groups that alternate every week.
Although it’s disappointing to not get to see the same youth every week, in some ways it’s actually been a blessing. It’s allowed us to recruit some more leaders and develop two teams. It has also meant that demand/desire to attend has stayed fairly high, as the young people don’t want to miss their week when it comes around. But that’s not the end of the story…
We’re working on yet another project and this one is actually due to start mid-way through November. We’re calling it “Living Room” and we’re really excited about it because it’s designed to be a casual “living room” type space that young people can come to and specifically learn and discuss the topic of “Life in Christ.” In fact, we’ve already heard back from several young people saying they are eager for it to start!
All of this, though, is dependent on the starting up of the Charity, Colwyn Youth for Christ, and lots of time and hours have been put into it in the last months. For example, a 34-page online document took about 10 hours to complete, and this was after we thought we had everything together! Thankfully, it went through and we’ve heard back with some questions for clarification. We are working on our reply and praying that we will be officially registered soon.
Lastly… I’ve saved the best for last! As several of you will already know (I sent an email out to all of our financial partners), this last month I was taken on as the newly appointed Assistant Minister of our church Prince’s Drive Baptist Church. There’s a bigger story that shows just how much God is at work but for now I’ll simply focus on how I feel that I’m in the perfect place for me to fulfil God’s call on my life to stand in the gap between the UK youth and the church. What really felt like a “first fruits moment” was when the young man from the skatepark came to church. In that moment I felt like I was fulfilling my purpose, standing in the gap, and building a bridge that the young man was able to cross from a Youth for Christ type outreach moment to a Sunday morning service in church! It was a beautiful moment!